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Photographer captures city's hutong history

By LI HONGYANG | China Daily | Updated: 2021-05-04 09:25

Qianmen Street in 2006. JIA YONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

In the class, Jia's teacher taught him not to take pictures randomly but to find a theme. The teacher also recommended shooting the items and topics he was familiar with.

"The first thing that occurred to me was the hutong where I grew up," he said.

At first, Jia considered pictures of historical buildings in hutong valuable. But he later found people who resided in a place for a long time more representative of the hutong culture.

However, it was harder to take photos of people than of stationary buildings at the beginning.

"Residents would not wait there and pose for you," he said. "If there was nothing to shoot during my first walk around an alley, I would search for good scenes a second and third time until an image that I could tell a story with showed up."

Also, some people refused to have their photos taken and asked him to stop. Jia said he never got frustrated, though, and insisted on pursuing his hobby.

When more residents learned that they had a photographer as a neighbor, Jia's work became easier.

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